By Chris Williams on April 10, 2018.

Each year we like to post a blog during National Poison Prevention Week reminding folks of simple steps that they can take around their homes to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, this year we missed the week (March 18-24) by a bit, but it’s never too late to help prevent accidental poisonings.

On their Poison Help Line website, the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration has posted some poisoning precautions by season that I thought was a novel concept. Some types of accidental poisoning are just more common during certain times of the year. An obvious example is antifreeze poisoning during winter. In the expectation of warmer weather and the urge to spruce up a bit, here are the primary poisoning concerns during spring cleaning:


Many household cleaners and similar products such as bleach antibacterial soaps, and mothballs are technically pesticides since they kill germs and other organisms. Others such as drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, and oven cleaners are caustic and can burn skin. Liquids made from petroleum, such as gasoline, lighter fluid, paint thinner, and furniture polish are poisonous if swallowed.

  • Keep products in their original containers. Never use food containers, cups, or bottles to store household cleaners or other chemicals. Store household chemicals away from foods.
  • Before using any product, read the label and follow directions, including any special directions for disposal of leftover product or empty containers.
  • Never mix household chemicals, cleaners, or detergents together. The combination of some products can create a toxic gas.
  • When using household cleaners or chemicals, never sniff the container to see what’s inside. When spraying, direct the nozzle away from people and pets. Turn on fans and open windows.
  • Just because you can buy lawn and garden pesticides over the counter, does not mean they are safe and don’t require precautions. They are still poisons and can be dangerous for the applicator or for children and pets if label directions and precautions are not followed. Never use more than the label recommends and store unused pesticides away from children and pets.
  • Be fully prepared by posting the Poison Help Line’s national phone number (1-800-222-1222) near your phone. Program the number into your phone’s address book or speed dial feature.

For more on poisoning prevention tips in and around your home, see these earlier Colonial blogs. Let’s Be Safe Out There!




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